Central California Blood Center gets a new set of wheels

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A big donation to the Central California Blood Center will help patients across the Valley, including an injured Fresno firefighter.

A blood drive was held in honor of Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters from across the Valley came out to support Dern and to see the debut of the new bloodmobile.

Peter Martinez with the Fresno Fire Department said, "To see that it was donated by somebody that's pretty huge because you know that one donation is going to keep on giving with people being able to donate more."

That donation in the form of $250,000 came from the Mitchell Family Foundation. Carl and Lulu Mitchell are locally involved in health care. They wanted to give back to the community and help save lives. The new bloodmobile is pink because Lulu Mitchell is a breast cancer survivor.

Dean Eller with the Central California Blood Center explained, "She wanted it to be seen and believe me when it drives down the road it's seen. It's just a wonderful facility; a new bus that will really help us out a lot in the five county area that we cover here."

This is just the first of many road trips for the bloodmobile that was recently purchased, and it will continue the connection established between the blood center and captain Dern.

"And so it really has worked out well," said Eller. "I think we have had over 3,500 people come out and donate in his honor. And what a blessing for the community."

Dern was injured back in March while battling a house fire. He made his public appearance just a few weeks ago. Over the past few months his fellow firefighter say he's been fairly surprised by the amount of support.

"Just the out right things that people have been doing whether it'd be through donations monetarily or with the blood," said Martinez. "It has been very awesome for him to see. I know that his family and as well as he is pretty appreciative of that."

Anyone wishing to donate blood should be on the lookout for the pink bloodmobile or just visit the Central California Blood Center in Northwest Fresno.

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